Cashew nut nutrition facts and health benefits.

Cashew nut nutrition facts and health benefits
Mohammad Imran Kozgar
Systematic Classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Sub-Kingdom: Angiosperms
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Sapindales
Family: Anacardiaceae
Genus: Anacardium
species: occidentale

Acajuba occidentalis, Anacardium microcarpum, Cassuvium pomiverum.

Common Names:
Cajueiro, cashew, cashu, casho, acajuiba, caju, acajou, acaju, acajaiba, alcayoiba, anacarde, anacardier, anacardo, cacajuil, cajou, gajus, jocote maranon, maranon, merey, noix d’acajou, pomme cajou, pomme, jambu, jambu golok, jambu mete, jambu monyet. 

cashew nuts benefits
Cashew nut, a rich and succulent product of the cashew tree, has gained popularity all over the world. Whether salted, sugared, roasted or covered in chocolates, the cashew nut is often used as a flavorful complement to appetizers and finds its place in main dishes and desserts. With a mix of nutrients and minerals not found in many common foods, cashew nuts have been used to promote wellness for centuries.

Cashew nuts, native to equatorial South America, are actually seeds found growing on the end of the cashew apple. Known by the botanical name Anacardium occidentale (Anacardium refers to the shape of fruit, which looks like an inverted heart, cardium means heart), the cashew is a close relative of mangoes, pistachios, poison ivy and poison oak. It was first introduced on a worldwide scale including India by Portuguese explorers in the latter half of the 16th century.

Rich Cashew Nut:

The cashew nut fruit is a rich source of vitamins, containing five times more vitamin C than oranges. They have high amount of mineral salts and other essential nutrients. The volatile compounds in the fruit include carboxylic acid, esters and terpenes. A group of plant chemicals that have documented biological activity like tannins are found in the bark and leaves of cashew. In the shells of the cashew nut, high concentrations of anacardic acids are also found. Other chemicals found in the cashew tree are alanine, anacardic acids, arabinose, alpha-catechin, alpha-linolenic acid, gallic acid, gingkol, glucuronic acid, leucine, linoleic acid, oleic acid, oxalic acid, palmitic acid, stearic acid and tannin, among many others.
High nutritive snacks, juices and fruit extracts are formulated from the fruits of cashew tree. Now, these fruits are being used in body-care products as well. Cashew fruit, being rich in vitamin C and mineral salts, is used as a catalyst in the treatment of premature aging of the skin and to re-mineralize the skin. It is also an effective scalp conditioner and tonic and is often used in shampoos, lotions, and scalp creams for the conditioning activity of its proteins and mucilage.

Health Benefits:
Cashew nuts have a high content of monounsaturated fats, antioxidants, magnesium, calcium and copper. Monounsaturated fats promote good cardiovascular health because they reduce high triglyceride levels associated with increased risk of heart disease. Antioxidants in cashew nut help eliminate free radicals that may cause cancer. Magnesium in the cashew fruit works with calcium to support healthy muscles and bones in the body. Copper micronutrient is essential in energy production and is required for greater flexibility in blood vessels, bones and joints.

In addition, cashew nuts help in the promotion of normal sleep patterns in menopausal women and have high energy density and high amount of dietary fiber, both have been reported to attribute helpful effects on weight management. Eating cashew nut helps the body to utilize iron, eliminate free radicals, develop bone and connective tissue and produces the skin and hair pigment melanin.

Prospects Of Cashew Nut In India:
Cashew constitutes an important foreign exchange earning crop of the country. India holds a virtual monopoly in international cashew trade. The export promotion council through vigorous drive has established many foreign markets in past decades to export the cashew kernels to USA, USSR, Netherlands, Germany, UK, Japan, Belgium, Bahrain and other countries to earn foreign exchange. Research on the cashew has been promoted at various institutes and established centres for the development of high-quality fruits and to reduce the environmental stresses and to boost its business on a very large scale within and outside the nation.

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